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John Lewis pulls their controversial "dancing boy" advert, but ad still lives on with new sender

The John Lewis ad with the boy dancing to Stevie Nicks attracted plenty of complaints as soon as it was released, so much so that John Lewis had to take to social media to explain the ad. 
Explaining the ad wasn't enough, and now they've once again taken to social media announcing that the ad has been pulled, and new customers to John Lewis home insurance will be contacted to learn what the insurance they bought doesn't cover. 

Will this settle things? Probably not. While some people saw a kid with behavioral problems, ad people saw poor planning and forgetting to check with legal, and even blamed this debacle on working from home. Others noted that it's possible that people didn't dare raise objections against the trans flag colors and a drag queen-styled kid in an advert for fear of losing their jobs in the current climate. Certainly, there were many people outside of the advertising industry who read a completely different story into the ad, not related to home insurance. 

Meanwhile, the ad itself has received new life, as it's been reslated at the end to sell something other than home insurance by a creative prankster out there. 

That ad is a lot like the Zazoo.com condom advert from Belgium in 2002, which was an early example of a web viral advert.

Some people in the neighboring country the Netherlands are happily embracing this John Lewis variant as a real ad for Durex. 

So I guess it wasn't a terrible ad, after all, it was just for the wrong client.

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture

This ad was a complete disaster from the consumers point of view from the start and should never have left the presentation board. Not only is it too similar of an idea of the 2015 ad, that is a repeat of an already successful idea, which is lazy and risky. But then they made matters worse by "updating" it to have a little Drag KId dance around expressing himself, as he acts like a complete brat. Drag Kids are a controversial subject no matter what some group of inner city childless people may think about it, as Drag is adult entertainment. John Lewis either didn't understand what topics they were touching with this ad, or they didn't understand what their target market thinks about this sort of thing. I don't know what is worse for the ad agency.

Anonymous Adgrunt's picture

We have all said it already, but it was offensive. sSeeping your sister's paint onto the floor, trashing everything in front of your mother - it was an appalling display of entitlement! And it was promoting gender ideology instead of insurance to boot! Focus on what you're selling instead of being woke.

Anonymous Adgrunt's picture

The previous statement was that the damage caused in the ad was covered because they didn't know what they were doing and therefore classed as accidental damage. Sure.

Obviously that is misleading. The FCA looked into it and the Lloyds underwriters pulled the plug because it was false advertising. You’ve withdrawn the ad because it missold the cover your insurance provides.

mochazina's picture

The way that they pretend this has nothing to do with LGBTQ+ inclusion (you should add that tag to the original article) is so disingenuous.

You should read Vic Day in Campaign magazine Why the new John Lewis ad made me wince
The spot sets out to land a deliberate message of LGBT+ inclusion, but leans on stereotypes to make this happen
We ALL knew this wasn't about a boy playing dressup when we saw the pink, blue and grey stripes - which is the trans flag.